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25 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 17 Apr 2019 United Kingdom

Proposals for Online Harms Regulation Risk Impacting Media Freedom

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner Index AEJ
Partner Index AEJ
Proposed new and wide-ranging legislation in the UK government’s “Online Harms White Paper” released on 8 April has raised concerns about media freedom. Proposed measures include a new legal duty of care to address a wide range of “harms” (not limited to illegal material or activities) with the possibility of large fines and potentially criminal liability for senior managers. Companies of all sizes, including social media companies, public discussion forums, non-profit organisations, file sharing sites and cloud hosting providers are included (for example, a blog and comments would be included). Media and campaigning organisations have raised concerns about the risks of direct and indirect interference with media freedom, such as prior restraint for comments sections and potential removal of "harmful" news stories online.
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25 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 Apr 2019 France

Journalist Gaspard Glanz Banned from Covering “Yellow Vests” Protests

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
On 20 April, Gaspard Glanz, an independent French journalist and founder of the agency Taranis News, was violently questioned by the police for showing a middle finger to a police officers who had jostled him, during his coverage of the "Yellow Vests" protests at the Place de la République in Paris. The journalist was placed in custody for a 48-hour period. He is referred to courts on charges of "contempt of a representative of public authorities". His judicial oversight prevents him to appear in the French capital any Saturday until his trial on 18 October, as well as on 1 May. This measure prevents him from covering these protests for the next six months. At the 20 April manifestations, press photographer Alexis Kraland was also placed in custody, for eight hours. On the same day, journalist Tristan Goldbronn was clubbed by the police. Journalists’ representative organisations have denounced such police violence. Some twenty editorial organisations and several journalists' unions have supported journalist Gaspard Glanz, criticizing the work ban of which he is the subject.
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25 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 25 Apr 2019 France

Three Journalists Summoned for Compromising National Defence Classification

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ
A journalist with Radio France and two journalists from the collective Disclose who revealed the use of French weaponry in the war in Yemen, were summoned by the Directorate-General for Internal Security (DGSI) on 14 May as part of the preliminary investigation opened by the Paris Prosecutor-General for "compromising national defence classification", upon a complaint by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. At issue is the publication by Disclose on 15 April of classified documents on the French weapons used in Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Journalists Geoffrey Livolsi, Mathias Destal and Benoît Collombat were informed about their summons by the DGSI on 23 and 24 April. In a joint statement dated 24 April, the newsrooms of Arte Info, Disclose, Konbini and Mediapart criticised the proceedings, that purport to identify the journalists’ sources.
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23 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 23 Apr 2019 United Kingdom

Journalist Lyra McKee Killed in Northern Ireland

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Index EFJ/IFJ RSF
Lyra McKee, a leading young journalist, was murdered on 18 April 2019 in the Creggan area of Derry in Northern Ireland. Violent unrest had broken out when police carried out searches in the area. During the disturbances a man reportedly fired shots towards police officers, fatally wounding 29-year old Ms McKee who was standing near a police vehicle. The murder is being investigated as a terrorist incident.
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23 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 07 Oct 2018 Bulgaria

Bulgarian Journalist Viktoria Marinova Killed

Source of threatUnknown
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index PEN
Partner AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index PEN
Bulgarian journalist and TV presenter Viktoria Marinova was found dead on 6 October 2018 in a park in the northern city of Ruse, where she had reportedly been out jogging. A regional prosecutor said she had suffered blows to the head and had died from suffocation. Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov told journalists that the thirty year old journalist had also been raped. Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothes were also missing. The minister stated that no evidence had been found to suggest the killing was related to her work, and that officials were unaware of any information that she had been threatened. The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media urged the Bulgarian authorities to investigate thoroughly to determine whether or not the attack was linked to her work. Bulgarian media voiced concern that Marinova may have been targeted on account of her recent TV appearances. They pointed out that on 30 September she had presented an investigative programme called ‘Detector’ on the private regional TV channel TVN, which featured interviews by another colleague with two well-known Bulgarian and Romanian journalists about their investigation into the alleged misappropriation of EU funds by politicians and businessmen. The owner of investigative journalism website Bivol.bg, Asen Yordanov, was cited by media as saying that the journalists who appeared on the TV programme were in danger because of their investigation into the issue, which has for some time been the focus of fierce controversy. Mr Yordanov suggested that Ms Marinova’s murder had been meant as a warning to other journalists. In October 2017, hundreds of Bulgarian journalists staged a public protest in Sofia after Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov and another senior politician threatened a TV journalist with dismissal for asking probing questions about sensitive political matters on air.
Updates
New 23 Apr 2019
On 22 April 2019, a court in Bulgaria has sentenced to 30 years in prison a man found guilty of killing journalist Victoria Marinova.
11 Oct 2018
On 10 October 2018, police in Germany have detained a man in connection with the rape and killing of Viktoria Marinova.
State replies
Follow-ups
12 Oct 2018
OSCE media freedom representative welcomes progress in investigation of killing of Bulgarian journalist, urges full and thorough investigation.
09 Oct 2018
Co-rapporteurs of the PACE for post-monitoring dialogue with Bulgaria appalled by the murder of the journalist Viktoria Marinova urge the Bulgarian authorities to thoroughly investigate her murder and abuse immediately.
08 Oct 2018
CoE Secretary General calls on the Bulgarian authorities to rapidly conduct a thorough investigation of the horrific killing of investigative reporter Viktoria Marinova.
08 Oct 2018
CoE Human Rights Commissioner calls on the authorities to urgently and fully investigate this horrendous crime and ensure that those responsible, including the masterminds, are held accountable.
08 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative shocked by murder of Bulgarian journalist, calls for justice and thorough investigation.
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23 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 23 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

Russia: President Putin Signs into Law Russia’s “Fake News” and “Internet Insults” Bans

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
The legislation allows courts to jail and fine people who use the internet to spread "fake news" or disrespect government officials and state symbols. The laws also allow Russian authorities to block websites that publish the offending material. Under the provisions of the signed laws, people found guilty of publishing "indecent" posts online that demonstrate "disrespect for society, the state, [and] state symbols of the Russian Federation" or for government officials would face up to 15 days in administrative detention. Individuals, including journalists, who post "fake news" could be hit with fines of up to 100,000 rubles (more than €1,350), while fines for public officials may reach up to 200,000 rubles (more than €2,700), and companies could be penalized as much as 500,000 rubles (about €6,875). The legislation gives the media watchdog Roskomnadzor the power to determine what constitutes "fake news". It defines "fake news" as any unverified information that "threatens someone's life and (or) their health or property, or threatens mass public disorder or danger, or threatens to interfere or disrupt vital infrastructure, transport or social services, credit organisations, or energy, industrial, or communications facilities." The law also obliges internet service providers to block access to content that "offends human dignity and public morality". It states that publications officially registered with Roskomnadzor, including online news outlets, will be given a chance to remove reports that the watchdog deems "fake news" before those sites are blocked, whereas websites not registered with Roskomnadzor can be blocked without warning. The law on online insults allows authorities to order fines of up to 100,000 rubles (about €1,375) for offending authorities, government agencies, the Russian state, the Russian public, Russia's flag, or the Russian Constitution. Second-time offenders may be fined up to 200,000 rubles (about €2,750) or serve up to 15 days in jail. It says those who violate the law more than twice will be fined up to 300,000 rubles (about €4,125) and spend up to 15 days in jail. Websites will be given 24 hours' notice to remove insulting material or face being blocked. On 2 April 2019, Roskomnadzor ordered the editorial offices of several news websites based in the city of Yaroslavl to remove reports on graffiti insulting President Putin on the grounds that they were "disrespectful," the first use of a recently passed law banning disrespect towards the government or public officials.
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23 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 23 Apr 2019 Finland

Finland: Court Convicts Journalist Johanna Vehkoo on Defamation Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ EFJ/IFJ RSF
On 12 April 2019, a court in Oulou, in central Finland, found investigative journalist Johanna Vehkoo guilty of criminal defamation of Oulou City Councilor Junes Lokka. The suit relates to comments by Vehkoo in a private Facebook group, in which she referred to Lokka as "racist" and a "Nazi clown," according to local news reports, a statement by the Union of Journalists in Finland, a local media workers union, and Vehkoo, who spoke with CPJ. Vehoo considers the case as retaliation for her reporting, according to the statement. Vehkoo reports on the far right and writes a fact-checking column for Finnish public broadcaster Yleisradio Oy, and co-founded the investigative website Longplay, according to the union statement. CPJ emailed Lokka for comment but did not receive a reply. Vehkoo was sentenced to pay a total of 150 euros to the state and 200 euros to Lokka for damages, and was also required to reimburse Lokka's legal fees, which amounted to 6,000 euros. Vehkoo intends to file an appeal. Vehkoo told CPJ that she made the Facebook comments on 2 November 2016. At the time, Lokka was an activist who had run for various elected posts since 2012 on an anti-European Union platform, according to his personal website. Lokka filed the defamation suit against Vehkoo in October 2018, after being elected in March 2017 and nearly two years after her original comments, according to Yleisradio Oy. Lokka, who co-hosts the YouTube show "Monokulttuuri FM" (Monoculture FM), has repeatedly targeted Vehkoo on social media since late 2016, calling her reporting "lies" on Twitter and making her the subject of several of his YouTube broadcasts, according to a CPJ review of Lokka's social media activity. "According to the district court of Oulu, one cannot call anyone a racist or a Nazi, as it is always defamation," Vehkoo told CPJ. "I was describing the ideology and tactics of a far-right activist and politician. This should definitely be within freedom of speech." According to Helsingin Sanomat, Lokka has denied harassing Vehkoo.
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19 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
State replied
Alert created on: 26 Nov 2018 France

Repeated Attacks on Journalists by the 'Yellow Vest' Protestors

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ CPJ RSF
The French journalists unions SNJ, SNJ-CGT and CFDT Journalistes denounce the multiplication of attacks on journalists during the "Yellow Vest" protests in several French cities. Since 17 November 2018, the insults or threats by some "yellow vests" against journalists have become commonplace during demonstrations and on social networks. Several journalists were also victims of physical assaults. TV news outlets had to take special measures to protect their reporters. On Saturday, 24 November, uninhibited violence was unleashed against several television crews who were covering the demonstrations. In Besançon, on 17 November, journalists from the BIP community radio were subjected to racist insults. One of them was hit in the face. Suffering from a broken bone, he filed a complaint. In Montpellier, on 18 November, several television reporters were attacked by dozens of protesters. Protesters spat in the face of a freelance journalist who collaborates with several television channels, including BFM TV. In Toulouse, on 24 November, the BFM TV and CNews teams were called "collaborators", and were also the target of spitting and threats. These journalists escaped an attempted lynching, on the Capitol Square, conducted by a hundred people, without the intervention of police. In Béziers, on 24 November, journalists from the regional public channel France 3 Occitanie were severely assaulted. A group of about 300 ‘yellow vests’ also attacked the office of newspaper Midi Libre. A journalist was beaten and the door handle of the local newspaper agency was broken when protesters attempted to break into the premises. Five journalists from CNEWS and BFMTV lodged complaints on grounds of "aggravated violence", "death threats" and "attempted gang assault" following protests held on 24 and 25 November.
Updates
New 19 Apr 2019
On the occasion of the presentation of Reporters Without Borders' 2019 World Press Freedom Index on 18 April, journalist David Dufresne presented his work on police violence against journalists during the yellow vest demonstrations: he recorded 62 cases of police violence against journalists.
15 Jan 2019
On 12 January 2019, several journalists were heckled or assaulted while covering "yellow vests" demonstrations in France. On the night of Friday 11 to Saturday 12 January, about thirty “yellow vests” blocked the Valenciennes storage house of the regional daily newspaper "La Voix du Nord", preventing the distribution of 20,000 newspapers on Saturday morning. About fifty "yellow vests", some hooded, blocked the printing center of the regional newspaper "Yonne Républicaine" in Auxerre. They gathered in front of the printing center shortly before midnight, preventing the delivery trucks from leaving. The blockade hindered distribution of some editions of "Le Journal du Center" and "La République du Centre" regional dailies. Near Angouleme, the regional daily "La Charente libre" could be published only thanks to police protection. About 70 “yellow vests” had gathered in front of the newspaper headquarters. They tried to block the distribution of the daily newspaper, accused of being "a pack of hacks on the government’s payroll". On Saturday in Rouen, a security guard who accompanied two journalists from the LCI news channel was beaten while on the ground. His nose got broken. A complaint was filed. In Paris, a team of LCI journalists was also attacked by some demonstrators and a journalist was thrown to the ground before the intervention of other protesters intervened to protect her. In Toulon, two video journalists working for the Agence France Presse (AFP) received threats while filming clashes before eventually taking shelter in a restaurant. In Marseille, a video journalist from public TV channel France 3 and two photographers were insulted and prevented from working. In Toulouse, a journalist from the regional daily "La dépêche du Midi", insulted and threatened with rape by hooded "yellow vests", filed a complaint on Sunday 13 January. Sheltered in her car, she heard protesters shout "We'll get you out and rape you," reported on Twitter Lionel Laparade, one of the newspaper editors in chief. In Pau, a freelance journalist from the local media "C L'Info Pau", Franck Paillanave, was hit while reporting live. "Yellow vests" surrounded, showered him with insults, and then beat him. He said on Sunday that he would also file a complaint.
State replies
15 Feb 2019
Follow-ups
28 Nov 2018
Recent attacks against journalists while covering protests are unacceptable. Journalists must be able to work, and inform the citizens on public demonstrations, safely.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Albania

Albania: Journalists and Photographers Injured by Police During Anti-Government Protests

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ RSF
On 13 April 2019, Albanian police fired tear gas into a crowd during a demonstration in the capital, Tirana, affecting several journalists, according to news reports and video footage of the protest. Eliza Gjediku, a reporter for local TV station Tema TV, was incapacitated by the tear gas and was sent to a local hospital for treatment, according to her employer. The Associated Press reported that "a few journalists" were affected by tear gas. Arben Dajci, a freelance photographer, was hit on the head by a metal baton that he alleged was swung by a police officer, according to local English-language news website Exit. On the night of the protest, Exit published a photo of Dajci with a head injury allegedly caused by police. CPJ's emailed questions to the director of communications of the Albanian government did not immediately receive a response. Protests have been ongoing in Albania since mid-February, with the opposition demanding that the current government resign and hold early parliamentary elections, according to the AP.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

Russian Draft Legislation Would Ban Distribution of Foreign Print Media Without Government Permission

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner CPJ AEJ RSF
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ AEJ RSF
On 2 April 2019, deputies in the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, considered amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses that would levy fines on individuals and companies for distributing print media from foreign outlets without permission from Russia's state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, according to an official statement from the Duma and media reports. For the amendments to become law, they must pass two more readings in the Duma and be approved by the parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, and then signed by President Vladimir Putin. Under the proposed amendments, Roskomnadzor would have the authority to seize all print media distributed without permission and penalize companies, such as newsstands, with up to 30,000 rubles (416 €) for the unauthorized distribution of media, according to the Duma statement. Individuals who disseminate unauthorized foreign print media would face fines of up to 1,500 rubles (20 €), while fines for public officials could reach up to 3,000 (41 €), according to the Duma.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Italy

Italy: Journalist Valentino Gonzato Assaulted, Robbed while Reporting in Park

Source of threatNon-state
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ
On 2 April 2019, Valentino Gonzato, an Italian reporter with the daily newspaper Il Giornale di Vicenza, was assaulted by a group of seven people while reporting in Fornaci Park in Vicenza, a city in Northern Italy, according to his employer. The group threatened the reporter, spat on him, and punched and kicked him, according to Il Giornale di Vicenza; members of the group also stole his phone. The paper reported that Gonzato suffered injuries and was taken to a local emergency room. It did not specify the extent of his injuries. According to regional news website Il Gazettino, police intervened in the assault and arrested seven people. The police also recovered Gonzato's phone, the website reported. CPJ emailed questions about the investigation to the local police in Vicenza but did not receive a reply. CPJ's emailed request for comment to Il Giornale di Vicenza also did not receive a response. According to Il Giornale di Vicenza, Gonzato was documenting the presence of drug dealers and tent encampments in the park when he was attacked.
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18 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 18 Apr 2019 Bulgaria

Bulgaria: Journalists Injured by Police During Protest

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner CPJ AEJ
No state reply yet
Partner CPJ AEJ
On 12 April 2019, at least two journalists were injured while covering clashes between police and protesters in Gabrovo, a town in central Bulgaria, according to local media reports. Veselin Tsvetanov, a reporter, and Daniel Stefanov, a cameraman, who both work for Bulgarian internet broadcaster Radio 999, reported that they had been hit by the police while they covered a demonstration, according to those media reports. Stefanov told Radio 999's affiliated TV station, TV 999, that that he was hit by a police baton above his left eye and required four stitches, according to a transcript of the interview by Bulgarian news website dir.bg. Tsvetanov was also hit on the head but did not require medical attention, according to Stefanov. CPJ emailed questions to the press center of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, but did not immediately receive a response. The Gabrovo police chief resigned on 12 April after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov criticised the police for mishandling the protests, according to the Bulgarian News Agency, the country's public news agency.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 14 Mar 2019 Turkey

Turkey Revokes Press Accreditations of Foreign Correspondents

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ IPI
German journalists were compelled to leave Turkey on Sunday, 10 March 2019, after their press accreditations were not renewed for 2019 without any explanation. Thomas Seibert, reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, was a long-term correspondent in the country. Jörg Brase was head of public broadcaster ZDF’s Istanbul office. The Turkish embassy in Germany tried in vain to make a deal to have the correspondents replaced, Tagesspiegel’s editor-in-chief reports. A third journalist, Halil Gülbeyaz, with public broadcaster NDR also had his accreditation refused and is not allowed return to Turkey. On 13 March 2019, Brase’s accreditation was renewed, after 20 freedom of expression and human rights organisations had urged Turkey to rescind the decisions. The status of Seibert and Gülbeyaz remains unclear.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
Accreditation of Tagesspiegel Turkey correspondent Thomas Seibert is renewed and he returned back to Turkey on 8 April 2019 after being invited by Turkish authorities to return to the country.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 12 Sep 2018 Turkey

Austrian Journalist Max Zirngast Detained in Turkey

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ AEJ Index IPI
Austrian journalist Max Zirngast has been detained on early hours of 11 September 2018 at his apartment in Ankara by anti-terror authorities. According to some media reports, he would be detained on "terror propaganda" charges. Allegations may be related to his political publications and involvement in civil activism against the Turkish government. He was arrested along with two other Turkish citizens.

Max Zirngast, a political science student at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), has been contributing to left-wing publications such as Austrian magazine re:volt, US left-wing publication Jacobin, Turkish socialist monthly Toplumsal Özgürlük. He was publishing content often critical to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has been politically active in the election campaign of pro-kurdish HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party).
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
Max Zirngast’s first hearing took place on 11 April 2019. Judicial control measure to sign weekly attendance at police station is lifted, travel ban remained. Hearing adjourned to 11 Sept 2019.
04 Jan 2019
On 25 December 2018, Austrian freelance journalist Max Zirngast has been released but is still under prosecution with a travel ban.
Follow-ups
12 Sep 2018
OSCE Representative strongly condemns detention of Austrian journalist Max Zirngast and urge authorities to immediately release him.
Journalists in detention

Currently in detention (0):

Max Zirngast
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yetProgress
Alert created on: 10 Jan 2017 Azerbaijan

Mehman Huseynov Sentenced to Two Years on Defamation Charges

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI PEN RSF
On 9 January 2017, Mehman Huseynov, a blogger and journalist, was detained in Central Baku by plain clothed police officers and held incommunicado overnight. Mehman has reported that while in police custody, police placed a sack over his head and used force against him.

On 10 January, he was taken to Nasimi District Court, where he was tried on charges of disobeying the police (Article 535.1 of the Administrative Offences Code), which carries a sentence of up to 30 days in jail. The Court released him; however, he was fined 200 AZN (approx. 100 EUR).

Huseynov is well known for his investigative journalism, focused on corruption among the Azerbaijani elite. Most recently, he had posted pictures online of luxury properties, which he said were owned by government officials. He has long been subject to pressure by the authorities, and has been under a travel ban for several years.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On 12 April 2019, the authorities of Azerbaijan lifted the travel ban of Mehman Hüseynov, allowing him to leave the country and attend an OSCE conference on media freedom in Vienna.
10 Apr 2019
On 9 April 2019, Mehman Huseynov was informed that he was banned from leaving the country, according to the order of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan.
04 Mar 2019
Mehman Huseynov was released from prison on 2 March 2019 after fully serving a two-year prison sentence.
22 Jan 2019
On 22 January 2019, the Prosecutor General of Azerbaijan announced that the new criminal case against Mehman Huseynov, regarding his alleged attack on a warden, has been discontinued. This follows the statement of the President of Azerbaijan, who issued a recommendation to the prosecution “to ensure the fairness and objectivity of the investigation”, taking into account the family situation and the youth of the defendant.
02 Jan 2019
On 26 December 2018, two months before his supposed end of sentence, new charges were brought against Mehman Huseynov. He was accused of beating a prison employee and placed in a punishment cell. In protest, he went on a dry hunger strike. On 30 December, Mr. Huseynov was transferred to Baku pre-trial centre. Due to his critical health state, a doctor was called in, who administered injections. The Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety addressed an appeal to the international community to “condemn another flagrant repressive act and call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mehman Huseynov”
28 Aug 2018
On 14 August 2018, Mehman Huseynov asked for a conditional detention, a request that was rejected by the Garadargsky District Court on 24 August.
28 Jun 2018
On 25 June 2018, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court rejected the second appeal by Mehman Huseynov, upholding his prison sentence for defamation.
18 Dec 2017
On 15 December 2017 the Baku Court of Appeals upheld the verdict against Huseynov, confirming his two year sentence for libel.
29 Sep 2017
On 29 September 2017 the Supreme Court of Baku partially granted Mehman Huseynov`s appeal, sending the case back to the Court of Appeals.
12 Apr 2017
On 12 April 2017, the Court of Appeals upheld the two years sentence against Mehman Huseynov.
03 Mar 2017
On 3 March 2017, Mehman Huseynov was sentenced to two years in prison on defamation charges (article 147.2 of the Criminal Code – defamation regarding a very serious crime) by the Surakhani district court. He was arrested in the courtroom. Nasimi district police chief filed the defamation charges against Huseynov, claiming the blogger lied when he stated following his release in January that he had been beaten by the police, demanding that he stopped his blogging activities. Mehman Huseynov is the first person to be convicted for slander in Azerbaijan.
Follow-ups
07 Jan 2019
PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Azerbaijan call upon authorities to review Mehman Huseynov’s case
07 Jan 2019
Commissioner calls on the authorities of Azerbaijan to drop charges against Mehman Huseynov
07 Mar 2017
OSCE Freedom of Media Representative and Human Rights chief call for release of blogger and human rights activist in Azerbaijan
03 Mar 2017
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights calls the two-year sentence against Mehman Huseynov in defamation case "appalling".
11 Jan 2017
CoE Human Rights Commissioner expresses his worries at reported ill-treatment, arrest, fine of blogger Mehman Huseynov.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 Apr 2019 Azerbaijan

Anar Mammadov Gets Suspended Prison Sentence

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner RPT
No state reply yet
Partner RPT
N/A
On 18 March 2019, Anar Mammadov, the editor of the Criminal.az website, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison with a two-year probation period. The Baku Court for Serious Crimes found Mammadov guilty of making public calls against the state, abuse of professional duties and forgery. Mammadov insisted that his website reposted only articles by other sources and agencies. The investigation of the Mammadov's case began in 2018 after the Prosecutor-General’s Office accused him of distributing false information regarding the attack against the mayor of Ganca, and a massive power outage following the explosion at a thermal power station in Mingacevir. During the two-year probation period, the journalist is banned from changing his place of residence and leaving the country.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 15 Apr 2019 Russian Federation

Blood Feud Declared By Official Against Blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner RPT
No state reply yet
Partner RPT
A popular Russian blogger, Tumso Abdurakhmanov, was called “an enemy to me and my brothers” by the Speaker of Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov. Daudov, a close ally of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, declared a blood feud against Abdurakhmanov after the blogger published a video on his popular YouTube channel, calling Akhmat Kadyrov “a traitor” of the Chechen people. Abdurakhmanov believes that the blood feud declared against him is nothing less than a death threat. On 12 March, in his Instagram Live broadcast, Daudov vowed to track down Abdurakhmanov and retaliate, using the Chechen term for "blood feud." Daudov’s recording was translated into Russian and reported on the same day by several Russian news outlets. Abdurakhmanov fled Chechnya in 2015 after the Chechen authorities accused Abdurakhmanov of having links with the "Islamic State" (IS), banned in Russia by the court. A criminal case was initiated against him under the article of "participation in illegal armed formations (IAFs) outside the country". Abdurakhmanov is presently in hiding in Poland facing deportation. Despite strong opposition from human rights activists, Abdurakhmanov's first asylum application was rejected. He's currently awaiting the decision on his second application. Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was unaware of the threat made by Daudov and that there is “no such thing” as blood feuds in Russian law.
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 24 Feb 2017 Turkey

"Die Welt" Correspondent in Turkey Deniz Yücel Detained

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner EFJ/IFJ Article 19 AEJ CPJ Index IPI RSF
Germany daily Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel was taken into custody in Istanbul on 14 February 2017. Mr Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, is accused by Turkish authorities of being a member of a terrorist organisation, spreading propaganda and misusing information, charges refuted by the defendant as well as media organisations. The journalist had reported – like six other journalists working for national news outlets detained at the end of December 2016 – on emails that the hacker collective RedHack had acquired from the private email account of Turkey's Energy Minister Berat Albayrak who is President Erdoğan's son-in-law. The emails allegedly revealed media outlets' control and the use of fake Twitter accounts to influence the public in favour of the ruling AK party.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On April 11-hearing, court adjourned the next hearing to 16 July, allowing Deniz Yücel's defense statement to be heard in a Berlin rogatory court on 10 May 2019.
26 Sep 2018
On 25 September 2018, the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court rejected Deniz Yücel’s request for compensation for his year-long imprisonment in Turkey.
16 Feb 2018
On 16 February 2018, a criminal court in Istanbul ordered the release of Deniz Yücel pending trial. On the same day, prosecutors presented an indictment seeking up to 18 years in jail for the journalist on charges of "spreading terrorist propaganda" and "stirring enmity".
30 Mar 2017
On 30 March 2017, following the rejection of the appeal, Yücel’s lawyers filed a complaint at the Constitutional Court.
28 Feb 2017
On 27 February 2017, Deniz Yücel was arrested after an Istanbul court ordered him to be jailed pending trial. His lawyers have appealed against his detention.
Follow-ups
16 Feb 2018
OSCE Media freedom representative welcomes the release of Deniz Yücel, adding that all charges against him should be dropped.
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
02 Mar 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media calls on Turkey to decriminalize journalistic work following arrest of Die Welt journalist
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15 Apr 2019 Lvl. 1
No state reply yet
Alert created on: 31 Oct 2016 Turkey

Turkey: Arrest of At Least 12 Employees of Cumhuriyet Newspaper

Source of threatState
CategoryDetention and imprisonment of journalists
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
No state reply yet
Partner Article 19 AEJ CPJ EFJ/IFJ Index IPI RSF
On 31 October 2016, Turkish police detained at least 12 employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, Turkey's largest secular, left-leaning paper, and one of the few publications that continues to criticise the government. The detained media workers are accused of membership of, and committing crimes on behalf of, two terrorist organisations: the Kurdistan Workers’ party and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ), which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup attempt. According to media reports, prosecutors also issued detention warrants for two of the newspaper’s executives, who are both currently abroad.

Following police raids, the following people were taken into custody: Murat Sabuncu (Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief); Güray Öz (Cumhuriyet board executive and columnist); Aydın Engin (former editor-in-chief of the newspaper); Hikmet Çetinkaya (columnist); Eser Sevinç, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik (all board members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation); Turhan Günay (Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper’s book supplement); and columnist Kadri Gürsel, who is also the head of the International Press Institute’s Turkey office.
Updates
New 15 Apr 2019
On 19 February 2019, an Istanbul appeals court confirmed the sentences handed down by a lower criminal court in April 2018. Journalists in the case with sentences greater than five years have the possibility of further appeal. Lower sentences are considered final under Turkish law.
26 Apr 2018
On 25 April 2018, an Istanbul court convicted 13 journalists and executives of Cumhuriyet of aiding terrorist organizations and sentenced them to jail terms ranging between two and seven years. The court placed the journalists on probation and banned them from traveling until the appeals process has ended. The judge also ordered the conditional release of Cumhuriyet chairman Akin Atalay. The court acquitted three of the defendants : Bülent Yener, a former board member, Turhan Günay, chief editor of the daily's literary supplement, and Günseli Özatalay, the chief accountant.
12 Mar 2018
On 9 March 2018, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled for the release of Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık pending the conclusion of the trial. Sabuncu and Şık remain under judicial control. The daily's chairman, Akın Atalay, however, was remanded in custody until the next hearing, scheduled for 16 March, during which the prosecutor is expected to submit his final opinion.
29 Dec 2017
On 29 December 2017 an Istanbul Court ruled to release Emre İper. He remains under judicial control and an international travel ban.
25 Dec 2017
On 25 December 2017 a judge at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse ruled to keep Ahmet Şık, Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu in jail for at least two more months until the next session of the trial on 9 March 2018.
26 Sep 2017
On 25 September 2017, the Court ruled to release Kadri Gürsel, though he remains on trial on charges of links to terror groups. After completing formalities, he was released from the Silivri prison. The Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Emre Iper and Murat Sabuncu. Their next hearing is scheduled for 31 October 2017.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017, a Turkish court confirmed Ahmet Şık's detention. The next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
12 Sep 2017
On 11 September 2017 a Turkish court Court confirmed the detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Kadri Gürsel. Their next hearing is scheduled for 25 September.
31 Jul 2017
On 28 July 2017, an Istanbul court released seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives. Five are to remain under arrest including Ahmet Şık. The court also decided that additional criminal charges would be brought against Ahmet Şık for his defense statement.
15 Jun 2017
On 14 June 2017, after 30 days of imprisonment, Oğuz Güven was released pending trial. His next hearing is scheduled to take place on 14 September 2017.
16 May 2017
On 12 May 2017, Oğuz Güven, editor-in-chief of the online edition of the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, was detained as part of a criminal investigation led by the Bureau of Press Offences of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul. On 15 May, Güven appeared before a judge, who ordered that he be held in pre-trial detention, on “propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “defamation against a person’s memory” charges. Both charges against the journalist are solely based on the title of a news report published and tweeted by Cumhuriyet on an online account about the accidental death of a prosecutor. During the hearing, the journalist repeated that the controversial tweet (“the prosecutor who sought the first warrants against FETÖ was cut apart by a truck”) was only visible during 55 seconds, was immediately corrected (“the prosecutor lost life in a serious car accident”) and is one of the 300 tweets per day written by the journalist, that he cannot be suspected of doing anything to support any terrorist organisation. Oğuz Güven is the 12th Cumhuriyet professional arrested by the Turkish authorities on charges of supporting two illegal organisations (PKK and FETÖ) based on opinions and articles published by the newspaper.
19 Apr 2017
On 7 April 2017, Cumhuriyet’s Finance Manager Emre İper was taken into custody during a midnight raid on his home by police. He was arrested on 19 April on charges of using ByLock, a communications app allegedly used by the Fethullah Gülen network and “being member of a terrorsit organisation”.
11 Jan 2017
On 29 December 2016, the investigative journalist Ahmet Şık was detained by Turkish authorities on charges of " propaganda on behalf of an illegal terrorist organisation" and "openly denigrating the Republic of Turkey, its judicial organs and its military and police". Şık tweeted that he was being detained due to a single tweet; a news report stated that the detention also related to various reporting elements including an interview with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)'s administrator published in Cumhuriyet daily in March 2015. On 30 December, Ahmet Şık was officially put under arrest on charges of spreading propaganda for the PKK, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C) and for the Fethullah Gülen group, an Islamic network the Turkish judiciary refers to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). All three groups are outlawed in Turkey. A report published by the Cumhuriyet claimed that Ahmet Şık had been denied drinking water for three days at Metris Prison, where he was kept before being transferred to Silivri Prison on 3 January. The Justice Ministry's Directorate General for Correctional Facilities released a statement denying the allegation, the official statement claimed Şık was given 1.5 liters of bottled water on 1 January. The Turkish authorities own regulation states that "any inmate has to right to have on daily basis 200 liters of cold water and 50 liters of hot water". Ahmet Şık also claimed that he was denied access to newspaper, pen and books in the cell. Ahmet Şık's access to his lawyers (Can Atalay and Tora Pekin) and family members were also denied during the first 5 days of his detention because the authorities couldn't record the conversation between the lawyers and their client. Şık was previously arrested in March 2011 in relation to an investigation into the Oda TV news website. He spent a year in prison for an unpublished critical book about the Gülen movement supported, at that time, by the AKP government. Today, the journalist is charged with doing propaganda for the same movement.
14 Nov 2016
On 12 November 2016, the CEO of daily Cumhuriyet, Akin Atalay, was arrested for “being a member of a terrorist organization” , upon his arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. A detention warrant had been issued for him on 30 October while he was abroad.
08 Nov 2016
On 5 November 2016, nine journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily were placed under formal arrest by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace. The daily’s columnists Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya were released by the court pending trial. A travel ban was imposed on them. On 4 November 2016, Günseli Özaltay, the accounting manager of the newspaper, and former accounting manager Bülent Yener were released.
Follow-ups
04 May 2018
Secretary General deeply worried by the chilling effect the heavy criminal sentences may have on media freedom
26 Apr 2018
OSCE representative welcomes release of Akın Atalay in Turkey but strongly condemns prison sentences for Cumhuriyet journalists and staff.
23 Mar 2018
All Cumhuriyet journalists must be released, says OSCE representative Désir following continued detention of CEO Atalay
12 Mar 2018
OSCE Media Freedom Representative welcomes the release of two Cumhuriyet journalists, calls on Turkey to free Akın Atalay and drop charges against all defendants
19 Jan 2018
The Council of Europe Secretary General refers to the recent decisions of Turkey’s Constitutional Court in his address to the Committee of Ministers
19 Oct 2017
On 10 October 2017, the Commissioner for human rights intervened before the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the detention of journalists and freedom of expression in Turkey
26 Sep 2017
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media welcomes the release of Kadri Gürsel and calls for release of imprisoned Cumhuriyet journalists in Turkey.
12 Sep 2017
OSCE Media Freedom Representative renews calls on Turkey to urgently release jailed journalists.
31 Jul 2017
Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative.
25 Jul 2017
OSCE media freedom representative calls on Turkey to release imprisoned journalists
12 Jun 2017
On 8 June 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated to the Turkish Government the case of Sabuncu and Others v. Turkey. The applicants, ten journalists from the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet placed in police custody and subsequently in pre-trial detention on suspicion of having committed offences on behalf of terrorist organisations and disseminating propaganda for them, complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also submit that there has been a breach of their freedom of expression. They further allege that their detention is a sanction against them for criticising the government and amounts to politically-motivated judicial harassment. They rely in particular on Article 5 § 1, 3 and 4 (right to liberty and security / right to speedy review of the lawfulness of detention), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights).
15 Feb 2017
Human Rights Commissioner : Urgent measures are needed to restore freedom of expression in Turkey
31 Oct 2016
Statement from Secretary General Jagland expressing his concern about state of emergency measures and freedom of expression in Turkey
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12 Apr 2019 Lvl. 2
Resolved
Alert created on: 08 Mar 2019 Ukraine

Ukraine Places Entry Ban on Austrian Correspondent

Source of threatState
CategoryOther acts having chilling effects on media freedom
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
Partner IPI EFJ/IFJ
Ukraine has placed an entry ban on Austrian correspondent Christian Wehrschütz, who has reported from the country since 2014 for the Austrian national public broadcaster ORF. The Austrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Ukrainian authorities had confirmed the ban. Ukraine’s SBU security service has accused Wehrschütz of illegal entry into the disputed Crimean peninsula – a charge Wehrschütz has disputed – as well as “anti-Ukrainian propaganda”, according to media reports. Authorities had previously denied Wehrschütz accreditation to report from the eastern part of the country. An expert on eastern and southeastern Europe, Wehrschütz has reported for ORF in the region since 1999, based mainly in Belgrade. Since 2014, he has regularly reported from the front lines in Ukraine. That year, he was named as “Journalist of the Year” by Austria’s trade magazine for journalism for his coverage of the conflict.
Updates
New 12 Apr 2019
On 12 April 2019, taking into consideration the decision of the Ukrainian authorities lifting the entry ban imposed on the journalist, the partner organisations to the Platform declared this case to be ‘resolved’, concluding that it was no longer an active threat to media freedom.
11 Apr 2019
On 11 April 2019, Ukraine’s Security Services (SBU) announced that it had lifted the entry ban earlier imposed on Wehrschütz and notified the journalist that he could travel to Ukraine again.
Follow-ups
08 Mar 2019
New OSCE Media Freedom Representative calls on Ukrainian authorities to reverse entry ban for Austrian journalist.
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20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Mehmet Altan’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Altan’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Altan’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.

20 March 2018

On 20 March 2018, the European Court of Human Rights issued its Grand chamber judgment on Şahin Alpay’s case. The Court found there had been a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) and a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention for Human Rights. With regards to article 5 §1, according to the Court findings, “Mr Alpay’s continued pre-trial detention, after the Constitutional Court’s clear and unambiguous judgment of 11 January 2018 (…), could not be regarded as ‘lawful’ ”. The Court held that “for another court to call into question the powers conferred on a constitutional court to give final and binding judgments on individual applications ran counter to the fundamental principles of the rule of law and legal certainty, which (…) were the cornerstones of the guarantees against arbitrariness”. Under Article 46 (binding force and execution of judgments) of the Convention, the Court held that it was incumbent on the respondent State to ensure the termination of Mr Alpay’s pre-tria detention at the earliest possible date. Under Article 10, the Court held in particular that “there was no reason to reach a different conclusion from that of the Constitutional Court, which had found that Mr Alpay’s initial and continued pre-trial detention, following his expression of his opinions, constituted a severe measure that could not be regarded as a necessary and proportionate interference in a democratic society”. The Court pointed out in particular that “criticism of governments and publication of information regarded by a country’s leaders as endangering national interests should not attract criminal charges for particularly serious offences such as belonging to or assisting a terrorist organisation, attempting to overthrow the government or the constitutional order or disseminating terrorist propaganda”.
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